ETCompetes! Speaker Series: Secrets of successful communities


In the ever-changing world of economic development, it is imperative that communities in East Tennessee recognize the paradigm shift that is happening nationally in regards to enhanced community character, retail, real estate, and economic changes. In an effort to foster change and growth all around our beautiful region, ETCompetes!—in conjunction with their partners East Tennessee Quality Growth, NAI, US Bank, and University of Tennessee School of Landscape Architecture—are sponsoring two workshops featuring nationally recognized speaker, Ed McMahon, Urban Land Institute senior resident fellow.

McMahon spent 14 years as the vice president and director of land use planning for the Conservation Fund in Arlington, Va., where he helped protect more than five million acres of land that has historic or natural significance. McMahon is also the cofounder and former president of Scenic America, a national nonprofit organization devoted to protecting America’s scenic landscapes. [Read more...]

Frank, AC mayor, elected treasurer of ETDD, ETHRA board

Terry Frank

Terry Frank

CLINTON—Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank has been elected treasurer of the East Tennessee Development District’s board of directors as well as treasurer of the East Tennessee Human Resource Agency’s Board and Policy Council.

The ETHRA Board and Policy Council meetings are held in coordination with the East Tennessee Development District. This combined meeting offers members a wider opportunity to discuss issues concerning the 16 county governments that comprise both the ETHRA and ETDD boards.

ETHRA has several advisory groups that provide an important community partnership link with the executive director. They include groups such as Workforce LWIA4, Council on Aging and Disability, and Correctional Services among others. [Read more...]

Gov. Haslam in Oak Ridge on Friday to discuss development, DOE cleanup

Governor Bill Haslam

Bill Haslam

Gov. Bill Haslam will be in Oak Ridge on Friday morning to discuss the U.S. Department of Energy’s environmental cleanup program and how it is enabling economic development in East Tennessee.

The government will meet with officials at the East Tennessee Technology Park and will also meet with reporters.

Roane State to host workshops on applying for USDA grants

Farmers, ranchers, and rural small business representatives are invited to upcoming workshops on applying for a federal grant that supports renewable energy projects.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Energy for America Program, or REAP, promotes rural economic development by assisting rural business to become more energy efficient. Grant funds can cover up to 25 percent of eligible projects.

Roane State Community College will host two workshops on applying for the grant. Representatives of Lenoir City-based ARiES Energy will prepare grant applications for those interested. [Read more...]

Tennessee named ’2013 State of the Year’ for economic development

Governor Bill Haslam

Bill Haslam

Business Facilities magazine cites diverse top projects in award

NASHVILLE—Tennessee is the “2013 State of the Year,” according to Business Facilities magazine, a national economic development publication.

Tennessee’s top five economic development projects created a total of 6,900 jobs and $3.2 billion in capital investment, and they included seven expansions and three new recruitments. The magazine picked the state after evaluating the top five projects for the number of jobs created and amount of capital invested from Oct. 1, 2012, through Oct. 31, 2013.

“A lot of hard work goes into keeping Tennessee competitive, and I want to thank Business Facilities for recognizing the efforts of so many people across the state,” Gov. Bill Haslam said. “We understand that jobs are created when someone is willing to risk capital, and we will continue working to make Tennessee a great place to invest.” [Read more...]

Watson one of four finalists for Texas job; decision possible in late January

Mark Watson

Mark Watson

Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson is one of four finalists for a similar job in one of the fastest-growing cities in Texas, and officials there could hire someone near the end of January, an official said Monday.

Jon Branson, one of two assistant city managers in Pearland, Texas, said the City Council is tentatively scheduled to conduct some final interviews on or around Jan. 25, and officials hope to have a decision shortly afterward.

Pearland’s current city manager, Bill Eisen, is retiring at the end of the month after 12 years. Branson will be the interim city manager starting Jan. 1, and he will serve until the Pearland City Council hires a new city manager. [Read more...]

Roane Alliance receives TVA sustainable community award for 
Roane County

Roane Alliance Sustainability Award

Pictured from left are John Bradley, Tennessee Valley Authority; Danice Turpin, Tennessee Applied College of Technology; Teresa Jackson, The Roane Alliance; Leslie Henderson, The Roane Alliance; and Del Boyette, Boyette Strategic Advisors. (Submitted photo)

The Roane Alliance received a Silver Award on behalf of Roane County at a recent Tennessee Valley Authority sustainable communities luncheon.

The TVA Valley Sustainable Communities Program Recognition Luncheon was Dec. 3 in Nashville. The award ceremony honored 13 communities from across the Tennessee Valley Region.

Roane County’s trophy was presented by Heidi Smith, a general manager in TVA’s economic development program, to Leslie Henderson, president and chief executive officer of The Roane Alliance; Teresa Jackson, Roane’s sustainable officer of The Roane Alliance; and Danice Turpin, director of Tennessee Applied College of Technology, a member of the Roane Green Team. [Read more...]

Letter: Chamber asks city, county officials to endorse mall TIF

Note: This is a copy of a Nov. 6 letter sent by the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce to the Oak Ridge City Council and Anderson County Commission. The Oak Ridge City Council approved the tax increment financing for the Oak Ridge Mall redevelopment in a 6-0 vote on Monday.

Dear members of Council and Commission:

Today, in a full retreat attended by the board of directors of the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce and numerous Chamber Millennium Partners, our board unanimously adopted a position urging Oak Ridge City Council and Anderson County Commission to unanimously approve tax increment financing (TIF) for redevelopment of the Oak Ridge Mall property.

This is the most critical near-term economic development project in Oak Ridge and Anderson County. It will undoubtedly impact our economy, our ability to attract additional retail/commercial projects, and our community pride.

Some specifics are: [Read more...]

Roane Alliance Education Matters! program takes home the ‘Gold’

IEDC Award


The Roane Alliance’s Education Matters! program has been selected as a Gold Award recipient by the International Economic Development Council, or IEDC, for excellence in economic development.

The award was presented at the 2013 IEDC Annual Conference in Philadelphia, Pa., on Tuesday. Receiving the award on behalf of The Alliance was Leslie Henderson, Alliance president and chief executive officer, and Allen Lutz, education and workforce development specialist at The Alliance.

Education Matters! received the award in the category of Partnerships with Educational Institutions in communities with a population between 25,000-200,000. According to the IEDC, their Excellence in Economic Development Awards recognize the world’s best economic development programs and partnerships, marketing materials, and the year’s most influential leaders. [Read more...]

Roane County takes green to a new level

TVA Sustainable Community Silver Seal

Roane County has been designated as a Valley Sustainable Silver Community by the Tennessee Valley Authority through a program initiated by their Economic Development department to help communities improve existing sustainability programs and increase their ability to attract new investment in their community.

Roane County recently completed the TVA-sponsored program, which was developed and administered by consultant Boyette Strategic Advisors. The program documents a community’s assets to increase the likelihood that it will be viewed as progressive and competitive by companies looking to invest in new or expanded locations. [Read more...]

DOE asks for more information on $2 million CROET grant

The U.S. Department of Energy has requested additional information as it tries to close out a $2 million grant awarded 16 years ago to a nonprofit organization that owns, develops, and manages former DOE property.

The grant was issued in 1997 as part of a larger grant that the Community Reuse Organization of East Tennessee requested from DOE, said Lawrence Young, CROET president and chief executive officer. Most of the money was used for a high-risk loan program for small businesses. The purpose was to create jobs and promote economic development in East Tennessee, said Mike Koentop, spokesman for the DOE Oak Ridge Office. [Read more...]

IDB endorses professional services contract with Chamber

The Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce could provide an office for the Industrial Development Board, store its files, prepare its meeting minutes and agendas, and take care of its accounting under a proposal endorsed Monday.

The Chamber would do the work for $25,000 per year, IDB Chair David Wilson told board members. [Read more...]